Waste management strategies must lead to job creation: African Marine Waste Conference told.

 

Port Elizabeth: 12 July 2017

Fairly advanced first world waste management methods may be attractive but may have one crucial weakness – an apparent severe limitation in terms of generating employment opportunities.

That is among important issues some participants at this year’s African Marine Waste Conference currently on in Port Elizabeth are grappling with, this against the backdrop of high unemployment rates in developing countries in Africa, including this year’s conference host country, South Africa.

Mr Thabo Magomola, a director for monitoring and evaluation at the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and a member of a project team tasked with the establishment of a Waste Management Bureau to manage the implementation of the DEA’s strategic waste management programmes such as the Industry Waste Management Plan, is among participants at the African Marine Waste Conference consumed with the subject of future waste management strategies and job creation.

Presenting on a topic themed Circular economy employment and SME development in southern Africa, Mr Magomola suggested that there was a missing link between much need job creation in Africa and current and future waste management strategies.

This required creative thinking and solutions responding to developing countries’ need for job creation rather than whole adaption without adaptation of first world methods in waste management.

According to Mr Magomola, an expected population increase in South Africa in particular, by as much as eight (8) millions people by 2030, but with further projections that in that period, the segment of South Africa’s youth (15-29 age group) will have risen to more than 15-million, with largely black youth between ages 15-34 year’s old currently unemployed and with little prospect, this presented a massive challenge for job creation across sectors.

‘If left unresolved this trend poses the single greatest risk to social stability. Goal 8 of the (United Nations) Sustainable Development Goals seeks the creation of decent work and economic growth. The African Marine Waste Network in conjunction with Government and other roleplayers can realize this objective through the adoption of relevant best practices which can be found in Africa,’ he said.

He cited as an example the recent launch of a Recycling Enterprise Support Programme by the Waste Management Bureau of the DEA as one initiative towards finding balance between the two key issues: best practice waste management programs and job creation.

Ahead of his presentation at the conference this week, The 10th Province blog caught up with to squeeze more out of him about the subject.

Africa’s youth want in on solutions to waste management

Mauritian, Mr Rick-Ernest Bonnier, a Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders patron and marine education specialist in his home country, is among dozens of young people making up the more than 200 high profile delegates attending the African Marine Waste Conference in Port Elizabeth this week and there is a reason. Young people should be part of the solution finding initiative, he told this blog on the sidelines of the conference.

In the two (2) minutes video below, he explains why.

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A global war on plastic waste may see an end, with South Africa playing a lead role in it: African Marine Waste Conference

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Port Elizabeth: 11 July 2017

An ongoing global strife against marine waste, but particularly plastic waste gradually rendering the world’s oceans a cesspit of debris threatening all life on earth, might soon score some victories and South Africa might have a pioneering role in this regard.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that the country will be introducing a technologically advanced plastic material designed to rapidly dissolve in water once sufficiently exposed.

This emerged at the African Marine Waste Conference currently underway in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, involving more than 200 delegates, among them dozens of leading scientists from several African and other countries.

IMG_6403In an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Dr Sudhakar Muniyasamy, a senior researcher on polymers and composites at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) revealed that the new plastic material for use in plastic carrier bags used mostly by retail stores would begin distribution in the coming year.

He said two of the country’s major clothes and foods retailers, Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths would be the first participants in the use of the new plastic material.

‘Plastic waste is a global issue and in seeking solutions to this problem, my research team focused on developing a plastic material that when it reaches landfill sites or the marine environment, it is completely biodegradable.

“The research and development phase is completed and we are now embarking on pilot scale production. The technology has drawn the interest of Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay and we are expecting them, maybe next year, to be on the license stage,” announced Dr Muniyasamy.

IMG_6436According to the scientist, once sufficiently distributed for single use plastic carrier bags from next year onwards, the new material should go a long way towards reducing plastic waste both at dumpsites as well as in the marine environment.

He also confirmed that along with the new technologically advanced plastic material, a campaign would be rolled to ensure that manufacturers of all plastic material currently in use meet a set of new stringent standards.

Dr Muniyasamy said South Africa was embarking on the efforts in collaboration with other African countries, among them being Egypt.

For the full five (5) minutes interview, Click Here

Booms, Bins and Bags – a B3 solution to the BIGA problem.

That is a solution driven by Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson, a senior marine biology lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal primarily to rid rivers in that province of South Africa of plastic waste often left to float freely by both established waste removal entities of local municipalities, but also by the population generally.

The project according to Dr Robertson-Andersson came to life after she’d transferred from Cape Town to Durban and on approaching the beaches in the city, found them littered with all sorts of plastic waste but especially small items such as bottle tops, straws, earbuds and other smaller broken plastic materials.

In collaboration with others, including independent NGOs, the project involving volunteers collects as much as between 300 and 1300 bags of small plastic waste along rivers such as the Umhlangane and Umgeni per time period.

In a three (3 minutes) video, Dr Robertson-Andersson chats briefly about the project.

 

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